Wednesday, November 21, 2007

An Englishman's acre...

This got me to wondering just what one would need to sustain one's family (of 4), acre-wise, when the revolution comes: Ask the experts: The rural consultant

'I was just wondering. Take the future 'situation we might face' to a rather stark conclusion, and what would a family of four need to be self-sustaining?

That is, once it has been ring-fenced and armed against marauding hordes who opted for the weekend break in the Maldives and latest X5 by way of lifestyle investments.'

Now there's a thought..

Lust, greed and envy - Councils should stop wasting money on green gimmicks and be practical

Bang on. Though, of course, recycling is a tad down the totem, 'Re:worthy-wise'. Reduction and, much more fun, reuse are higher. Oddly, though not if one is of a target-meeting, bonus-accruing, fine-avoiding, box-ticking bent, councils do like their recycling a lot. Which is why we see so much money spent assisting us in doing the right thing. I just can't help but wonder if all that money might not have been better spent on just helping lots of folk actually DO something tangible, as opposed to keep those 'rates' peppy.

Thing is, it's not always that simple to do the right thing if you are so minded. I tried, and look where it got me, just on the matter of plastic bags with, or maybe despite, local authority 'guidance'

Food waste disposal? Sorry, not sure on that one yet, either:

But I'm on the case, soon to be issued is the carbon comparison site comparison, er, site. Because you can never have enough awareness!

Always look on the bright side of life..' ta-dum

‘Going green’ are we - then where’s the big stick?

Agree with pretty much all... though I would have to say that there are many, though agreed mostly small and often barely significant, ways to 'go green that can confer considerable upsides in terms of time and money over warm fuzziness.

You just need to know where to look, and have a 'why not' kind of attitude to not wasting if it isn't necessary.

The Gord giveth... and...

Gordon Brown's hot air

Hmnn... yes.

Didn't that Newsnight go well?

Meanwhile, I am looking at a tearsheet summary from the Sunday Indy (may have been here, too, sorry), and which may all have changed by now, but it says:

'Small business that want to do their bit for the environment face higher tax bills... the Valuation Office Agency, and arm of the IR , is preparing to tax solar panels, wind turbines and micro-generation tech with higher business rates and council tax. This follows news that GB is set to abandon TB's targets on renewable energy.'

But, as they say, maybe a few days is a long time in politics.

In any case, it may not be that bad. They'll probably lose the records anyway:)

The Gord giveth... and...

Has Brown finally become a bright-green revolutionary?


I'm guessing he may be going various hues of all sorts of colours at the 'mo, but I'd be hard pressed to see a hint of green in any of them.

Do you actually read other articles in your paper?

Hidden Gems

Recycling award for Morrisons

And a big-up to them

Thing is, as a weekly Morrsions shopper, I can honestly say I have never noticed the things. Or if I have, acted any differently.

As a metaphor for most green initiatives, that's about tops.

Remember, what you believe need not be what you mean

The ongoing genius of Dilbert.

This could go with almost all my posts, frankly, but mainly those regarding Government, the BBC or Guardian CiF.

What 'e sed!


Good point. One of... quite a few on the issue of who says anything is anything. From what constitutes a 'young marketer' (it's another thread somewhere) to what plastic bags are acceptable. On the latter, more serious (jobs and enviROIs are often at stake) side, most seem to originate from unelected knee-jerks with a good PR and/or speed dial to a media luvvie, which then gets hyped and spun to acquire a head of self-interested steam, and thus gets picked up as useful idiot populist distractions from the real, major issues being mishandled by the elected variety.

I should declare a slight interest, as not all that is junk need be bad:

Peter Martin
Junkk Male

(Mind you, it's the extra Special K that makes all the difference - and yes, we do have a use for that too)

It's good to share

VBS offers airtime incentive to socially beneficial advertisers

Sort of an ee-BOGOF? (Enviro/Electronic)

Now all I need is the £ to match the other one.

Worth a go.


Another day, another category: - The Marine Conservation Society, Britain's biggest marine charity, has a list of fish to eat and fish to avoid

Fishing in the stocks

I raised this in a recent blog and as it's mentioned in more detail here think it's worth sharing: How do we balance conservation with the interests of the fishing industry?

For the life of me, I cannot figure out why it is beyond the ken of those in charge not to figure out a cost-effective, practical and fair way to police this issue to the satisfaction of the conservationist whilst avoiding such grotesque WASTE!!!! '...between 40 and 60 per cent of fish caught each year is thrown over the side.'

Actually, hold that thought. I can figure out why it is beyond their ken. It's tricky. They don't do tricky any more.

Meanwhile, in the spirit of proactivity: The Marine Conservation Society, Britain's biggest marine charity, has a list of fish to eat and fish to avoid on its website – Waitrose and Marks & Spencer top its list of supermarkets for sustainable fish.

BBC - Fish dumping 'will ruin industry'

Running on empty

I get a lot of things from BBC Breakfast News, but seldom epiphanies.

It happened during a morning catalogue of failures, but three in short order struck me.

1. The HM Customs & Revenue cock up.

2. A story on failures in the NHS, with a couple seeking/getting compo for their kid's poor, ultimately fatal, treatment. They get money for their loss (not quite sure how this benefits them, or indeed susbsequent families, but there we go. I'd want justice, not cash). Where from? And how are those responsible for the mess prevented from repeating them?

3. The summit on 'binge drinking' whereby the government (indeed Mr. 'key issues' Brown) is requiring the drinks industry to 'deal' with the issue. They may be complicit through woeful ethics and morals, but it's all still legal, the rules of which are set by whom?

It is now clear to me that we are in a situation where everyone is responsible, with all the benefits such positions confer, but no one is accountable. This is as true of much in the private sector as public, but in the latter it has become truly endemic. Government. Local Authority. Health Service. Quango. BBC.

And those outside the system are cursed to continually pick up the tab for those within it. Why do I pay for the fine for a failure that has impacted upon me?

From Northern Rock to hospital cock-ups to Treasury melt-downs to you name it, the one thing that has gone stratospheric, is the amount of money institutions (and their failed managements) shell out to 'deal' with the failings of individuals within them.

So it's not just the screw-ups, it's the screw-ups who oversee them too.

We need to ask why. And who. And hold all of them to account.

Speaking of which, I think I now see the reasons behind the various urgencies for various stellar government operatives to move into a new slot. I have a vision of a Looney Tunes cartoon with fizzing packages marked 'my last 10 years' being handed from Blair to Brown and Brown to Darling (and...)


Actually, I was wondering if any of the techno-whizzes out there could do a quick Google/cache/whatever so we could have a list of just how many times a government munchkin has gone on air or in print over the last few months to say 'we must learn from these mistakes', with the rictus grin of one with no intention of doing so.

Better yet, with a wee tally besides to show just how many they patently haven't 'learned from', and the consequences (or not) to those who have suffered from this double-speak, compared (career/£/pension-wise) with those who still gain by getting away with it.

Sorry, I'm grumpy.*

*Two conversations , so far, (one with SKY, one with Halifax) that went in circles as they called me today but wanted first, for data protection reasons, to confirm my details. In light of events, I told them to tell me what they had on me and I would confirm or not. But no, they needed me to tell them. Nice one Nu-Lab! Now nothing can get done... official.


Daily Mash - You gotta laugh, 'else you'll cry

Guardian - The sheer gormlessness of Discgate theatens Labour's claim to power

Indy - Lost in the post: the personal details of 25 million people - a few questions.

Me, I just wonder how the whole salary/pension thing works out once the dust settles.

ADDENDUM: And this, Mr. Darling, is why it matters to me:

HSBC Security Precaution

Dear Valued Customer,

For your security, we have temporarily prevented access to your online banking.
HSBC safeguard your account when there is a possibility that someone other than you is logging on. You may be getting this message because you are logging on from a different location or device.If this is the case, your access may be restored when you revalidate your logon details.Please click on Get Started button below to continue to the verification process

Get Started
N.B (Failure to validate your logon details correctly might lead to online access suspension)

I don't have an HSBC account. It took 'em less than 24hrs to get going on the disarray this situation has created.

BBC - A yawning gap